CrashPlan app and Time Machine

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The CrashPlan app and Time Machine complement each other well and can be used on the same computer, side-by-side, backing up your live data. For best results, do not use the CrashPlan app to back up Time Machine or Time Machine to back up the CrashPlan app. Use them both independently to back up your original files. 

 Non-Crashplan products

Information about products from other manufacturers is intended as a resource to help you get the most out of CrashPlan products. However, our technical support team cannot provide direct assistance for these products. For assistance with products not developed by CrashPlan, contact the product's manufacturer.

Can I back up my Time Machine data with the CrashPlan app?

You should not do this. Backing up this data with the CrashPlan app is unnecessary as long as the original files are already included in your CrashPlan app backup file selection

If Time Machine data is included in your CrashPlan app backup, then you end up storing multiple copies of the same file in your CrashPlan archive, making it much larger than necessary. A larger archive can take longer to back up, and may even prevent your important files from ever getting backed up. 

Here's how you can use the CrashPlan app and Time Machine side-by-side:

  • If you use an external drive solely to hold your Time Machine backup, then exclude the entire external drive from your CrashPlan app backup set.
  • If you use an external drive to hold your Time Machine backup and you also use it for storage, exclude the Backups.backupdb folder that contains your Time Machine backup from your CrashPlan app backup set. 

About the Backups.backupdb folder

The Backup.backupsdb folder is where Time Machine stores its backup data. The location of this file can vary:

  • If Time Machine is used for local backups only, the Backup.backupsdb folder is located at the top of the drive's directory.
  • If Time Machine backs up computers over a wireless or Ethernet network, then the Backup.backupsdb folder is contained within what is known as a sparse bundle disk image. The sparse bundle is located within Time Machine's HD, and it will be prefixed with the name of the corresponding computer. There is a sparse bundle disk image for each Mac backed up over the network.

Back up with the CrashPlan app to a Time Machine destination

When you specify a volume as a Time Machine destination, it erases the volume first. In order for the CrashPlan app and Time Machine to back up on the same volume, set up Time Machine first and then point the CrashPlan app to the volume as a backup destination.

Local vs. remote backup

Time Machine was designed for local backup only, while the CrashPlan app was designed for local and remote backup. If you want remote backup and just one system, use the CrashPlan app to back up to a local and cloud destination. If you prefer to use two systems, use the CrashPlan app for remote backup of your files only (not Time Machine data) and use Time Machine (or Time Machine and the CrashPlan app) for local backup.

The important thing to remember is don't use the CrashPlan app to back up Time Machine data; use the CrashPlan app to back up your original files. If you'd like, you can also use Time Machine to back up your original files. This provides a much more comprehensive and efficient backup solution than trying to use the CrashPlan app to back up Time Machine directly.

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